76 Grand Street
Deitch Projects and PaceWildenstein presented Portraits Lost in Space, a joint exhibition of new paintings by George Condo. PaceWildenstein exhibited abstract portraits of jazz musicians. Deitch Projects showed portraits of Condo’s composite characters. The two exhibitions contrasted Condo’s two approaches to portraiture: abstract and representational.
The jazz paintings were abstract portraits of legendary musicians like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. Condo “reinverted” the abstraction of the music into the abstraction of painting, bypassing the representational to create improvisational “portraits” that paralleled the improvisational energy of the music. Condo saw these works as representing “the sound of painting”.
The portraits presented at Deitch Projects were characterized by Condo as “hallucinations looking back at the hallucinator”. They were arrangements of cheeks, noses, eyes and foreheads that emerged from the periphery of the mind. They represented composite beings drawn equally from Old Master paintings, cartoon animation, and everyday life. Condo thought of his approach to these portraits as “artificial realism,” the realistic representation of the artificial. Condo used Old Master-like painterly virtuosity to paint portraits of “antipodal” characters to represent the contemporary human condition. His faces reflected the manic quality of cartoon characters but also evoked the sadness at the periphery of contemporary life. The work resonated with pathos and sympathy for the lonely and the dispossessed.
Like the jazz paintings, the portraits evolved out of improvisation, an improvisation on the human face. Condo developed a unique improvisational approach to portraiture, drawing on personal memories and retained images from popular culture to create portraits of people who were simultaneously artificial and real, just like many of our experiences in contemporary life.
This artificial realism that George Condo has articulated since the early 1980s anticipated many of the developments in the new painting of the late 1990s. His work has a resonant connection with the most vital currents in new painting.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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